Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan
January 7th.—"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." How did those words sound in my soul, and break my heart last night. He will not impute sin to us--then who or what can condemn us? He will not impute sin to us. Keep back, you sin-lovers, who know not these wonders in experience. Here you cannot lawfully tread. But here we, pardoned, justified, brokenhearted ones, may tread and triumph. Bless the Lord, my pardoned soul.
February 2nd.—The past has been a week of much love and mercy, and many heart-meltings; and I increasingly see that when the eye is singly fixed upon Jesus, circumstances are very secondary. He, our Beloved, is our triumph in all, and our victory over all. In Him we can bear, do, or suffer whatever He appoints; and that He may be honored in all, is our highest ambition. Very hard the enemy tries to corrupt me from this simplicity—but my Jesus is stronger than he, and I look to Him for victory; I look that still he may be "all-in-all" to me, nor shall I look in vain: love is my confidence and stronghold; love will not disregard the appeals of love, let the enemy say what he will.
February 9th, Afternoon.—I have been just now reviewing a little of my past life; and, oh! of what wonderful mercies and deliverances have I been the subject. I would have ruined myself indeed. But the Lord held me by His right hand, though unseen. I admire the deliverances—but adore and love the dear Deliverer! I praise Him, that He keeps me outwardly moral and upright. But I praise Him a thousand times more for that perfection I have in Him, which no acts of mine can ever mar. I wonder at the way in which He has led me—but wonder more at the end to which He has brought me--and that is Himself! Yes, He has brought me unto the King with gladness and rejoicing, and I find Him the end of the law, the end of sin, the end of death—eternal life, love, and glory! I do, and must praise Him.
February 15th.—Love, Almighty love, is the blissful element in which I still dwell; oh, what soul-dissolvings and heart-ravishings do I there find! I seem all gone, and Christ is "all-in-all."
February 23rd.—How is my soul melted this morning, in the feeling of union, eternal union—yes, from everlasting. You, Jehovah, have "been our dwelling-place," and we have had a being in You; and now You have given us a conscious being, to know our privilege, and to triumph and glory in You.
February 25th.—I have had, last evening, a fiery dart from the enemy. But Jesus is my place of refuge. It was a very powerful suggestion of an IF, and how has my soul melted to find that my Beloved had felt the if before me. "IF You be the Son of God." Oh, my precious Christ, how sweet Your sympathy, how deep Your love, to bear the edge and force of all before it comes to me. It is safe to descend with You. To You afresh I commit myself, and hang on You alone. Your blood, Your righteousness, Your love, are all my plea; and, though earth and hell roar against me, here I must be safe.
April 2nd.—A dear friend this evening quoted Phil. 4:19; and such a fullness and glory has just beamed on my mind, in the word "according," as I never saw before. "According to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Who can get to the top and bottom of that? The Lord be pleased to show me more, for I know but as nothing.
"Hark! the name of Jesus sounded
Loud from golden harps above:
We may blush and be confounded,
Weak our praises, cold our love."
Your name, dearest Lord, is as "ointment poured forth" to my soul; it renews the fire of love, and I long to praise You as I cannot.
"Hail! blissful dawn of endless day,
When sin shall cease, and death shall die;
And Christ His glory shall display,
And beam upon my longing eye."
Then shall I praise, and be absorbed in love!
May 15th.—I feel powerfully today the attraction of love and divine drawings of my best Beloved. My heart rises heavenward and homeward, and anticipates the joy of being unceasingly absorbed in love, praise, and worship. Born of God, my spirit rises to God, and longs to be filled with God, and drink full draughts of bliss from the infinite Source of life, love, and holiness. Dearest Lord, I have so feared lest I have grieved You, lest anything should transpire which would cause me to be, in experience, more at a distance from You. Oh! let it not be; You must keep me close, for You are all to me. I ask for nothing earth can give—but I ask Your constant smile, Your constant love, Your constant dear embrace. I ask it in desires of Your own kindling, and leaving all creatures and circumstances to Your disposal: my happiness is not in them, it is Yourself I seek. And here I must be ardent, importunate. Oh, deny me not. While ever I dwell in the body, let me by faith rise much out of it, and be "absent from the body, and present with the Lord." I am too happy, and full of heaven, to work much today. I must keep joyful holiday: "The Lord will provide." Christ is my treasure and my "all-in-all." "Bless the Lord, O my soul."
Evening.—This has, indeed, been as one of the days of heaven to my soul, a new beaming in of light, love, and glory. What indulgence! how undeserved! Surely, dearest Lord, You are proving that You are not offended with me, and that You will not leave me to anything which would, in the leastwise, separate from You. Bring me nearer yet, and let more of the fire of love burn in my soul.
May 21st.—A sweet portion this morning in family reading. The word was Ezek. 35:10. I felt the application thus—Though my enemies think to come and possess me, it is in vain, for the Lord is here before them. I am his own, and He will maintain and assert His right, in spite of earth, hell, and self.
May 25th.—I desire this evening new givings-up unto the Lord, in all I have and am, that I may be more than heretofore for His glory; which He has afresh shown me is the only real end of my living, and the only right object for my desire and pursuit. I confess, with shame, my shortcomings, and that twice, lately, false and fleshly modesty has prevailed; so that, for fear of seeming too forward, and speaking too much in presence of more aged Christians, I have restrained what I ought to have said in praise of my precious Christ. Oh, pardon me, my Beloved; let me not fear the creature, or mind creature-opinion. But, when others will not speak, make the tongue of Your stammering one speak out Your love and glory.
June 1st, Sabbath.—How sweet to my soul are these days of rest; they are only too short and too seldom. I would have every day a Sabbath. It is so, in one sense; soon it will be entirely so; one blissful, endless Sabbatism! I have had a sharp internal conflict today—but enjoyed the triumph of faith this evening. Many painful things have been presented to my mind, to affright and dismay me. But now my language is—Though "they compassed me about like bees, in the name of the Lord I will destroy them." And, should things so contrary to the flesh await me, I need not be "moved by these afflictions, knowing that we are appointed thereunto;" and, as Christ is my happiness, that will remain the same, let what will be without.
Dearest, precious Lord, I am Yours. I have willingly given myself to live only for You. I retract not; it is the privilege of love to do as You will with Your own. My desire is Your glory in and by me. This I ask. Oh, let it be so more and more; reveal Yourself more to me; glorify Yourself more in me; make me clearly understand Your will and Your way, and let me triumph in You at all times: let nothing hinder, let nothing ever intervene between You and me; it were worse than death to be at a distance. Never, oh, never let it be. But in nearest, dearest communion, do hold me amid all the changeful and yet unknown vicissitudes of the wilderness.
"Oh, the sweet wonders of that cross,
Where God my Savior loved and died."
I feel a little of those wonders this morning. My soul melts in the love and blood of my Beloved. By His cross I find death to sin, law, world, and myself. All my black guilt was here removed; "from condemnation I am free." Eternal praises to my dear Deliverer!
June 15th.—Another of these dear shadows of eternal rest, these days which our Father has given to spend with Him; they are dear to my heart, and seem doubly privileged to me, because favored with such quiet and retirement, so that I can enjoy Christ my Lord uninterruptedly. The temptation under which I suffered last week, and for some time past, has been quite broken in its power. To the Lord be the praise! "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what can (flesh) do unto me."
June 22nd.—I have just seen a silly fly, sporting heedlessly close to a spider's web, and most likely it would soon have sported into it--and have become fast entangled in the snare. But a friendly hand swept away the spider's network, and thus removed the danger; while the heedless, helpless fly, was equally unconscious of both the danger and the preservation.
Ah! then, I thought, perhaps it is thus often with me! In an unseen snare I had been almost heedlessly caught. But the seeing eye, loving heart, and powerful arm of Jesus are mine! He beholds the intended mischief, defeats the wily worker, sweeps away the entangling thread--and thus preserves me from disaster! "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life . . . with Your right hand You save me!" Psalm 138:7
All praise be Yours, dear Lord, for known and unknown mercies and deliverances! Oh, may I never knowingly sport on the edge of sin--or trifle with temptation.
I was much melted in the house of God this evening, by these words, which came with Divine power, "He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." Oh, how great and full did they appear! I am sure there are infinite depths, of which I yet know nothing.
July 10th.—I have had a good deal of spiritual indulgence and enjoyment lately. This morning I was mourning the absence of it, when the Lord graciously gave me a renewed insight into the life of faith, showing clearly how it is in Christ, and not in enjoyments; and how that, after great indulgence, it is salutary they should be withheld, to prove whether we are in anyway resting therein. Thanks to Him for all the lessons and discipline of love! This evening my soul thirsts and pants after Christ. It seems that one word comprises every desire and petition of my heart, "MORE OF CHRIST." Oh, my Father, deny me not. You have given; do reveal, unfold the gift. Make me, O holy Comforter, to know more of Him, in whom are concentrated all the glories and perfection of Deity and humanity.
July 13th.—Oh, my "Abba, Father," I can feelingly say, Your cabinet is full of jewels, and Your storehouse full of treasures. Your beloved Son, my precious Savior, Redeemer, and Surety, is full of radiant glories, ever new. I this day feel Him to be my heaven; let, I beg you, Your revealings and unfoldings be so distinct, and in such measure, that I may receive them to profit, and not lose one grain of such gold; for I find the wonders of Immanuel, in union to Him, so to multiply, that, without Your power to uphold and make definite, my little mind will be fairly overwhelmed in sweets, and retain none, because attracted by so many. Do not stay Your hand; it is not too much. I want to be absorbed in Him forever. But oh, enlarge, that what You do bestow may not be in vain—but may render back to You a hundredfold again.
August 10th.—"With bitter herbs shall you eat it." Methinks this has been my case today. Bitter, indeed, my felt sin and pollution. Precious, most precious, paschal Lamb, who has removed it from me, so that I am free forever; and, though feeling and loathing it, yet I trust it with Him, believing Him to be my perfection and purity.
August 16th.—Our Friday meeting was precious and powerful. In reading Numb. 19. and Heb. 13:11-15, my soul was so overcome with the glories and love of Jesus, that I could scarcely find utterance. I have recently seen that there is much glory in His priesthood, and I long to have it more revealed. In truth, I saw Him last night to be such a glorious Priest, such a wondrous sacrifice, that I was lost in wonder. Praise Him, O my soul!
September 7th.—Let me note, for the Lord's glory and my future encouragement, that having been for some time under a variety of trying, and seemingly adverse circumstances, my weak heart had somewhat failed and become faint, when last Monday the Lord seemed to say to me, "You are mine; I have redeemed you by my blood; trust your flesh with me, to do as I like with, and to bring through what I please." And He gave me ability to give up, and not seek after my own ease and gratification—but be willing for a succession of trials and contradictions, if the Lord should appoint them--embracing Him as my strength to bear them, and seeking only His glory. And I do here record, for His honor and my encouragement, that I find no cause to regret the exercise, or draw back the surrender. All has been well. The Lord will never harm those whom He loves; it is our own folly in having a will, and striving to choose and manage matters, that brings our misery--and not what the Lord lays upon us.
September 20th.—"Blessed is the man who endures temptation." This Scripture is much on my mind, and it is very striking.
September 21st.—I feel this morning I must erect an "Ebenezer" to the Lord's praise and glory; not that we are brought out of trials—but for support and triumph in Christ, while in them. The way, as regards temporals, is quite dark. But I believe the Lord will work for us, though I see not how. All our temporal mercies are only lent to us; and, if all are recalled, there will be nothing unkind, it will only be to supply us in another way. I humbly confide in love, and embrace You, precious Christ, by faith, that I may trust and triumph in You, through all that awaits me. Without You I can do nothing.
September 24th.—Last evening, Psalm 23:1, was very sweet: "I shall not lack," seemed so positive, and also such a necessary consequence of the Lord being my Shepherd, as I never saw before. It seemed like this: To say "the Lord is my Shepherd," and yet to fear, is unpardonable. He will provide all that is really needful. My soul rose in confidence: "I will trust, and not be afraid!"
October 7th.—Very blessed have been the meditations the Lord has given me lately on the life and triumph of faith, as revealed in the Word—in Abraham, in the children of Israel, in Joshua, David, etc. What a book is the Bible, and what wonders are there revealed, which we find as the Holy Spirit anoints our eyes and opens our understandings. This word was very sweet to me this morning: "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." It came in reference to that matter on which I have such conflicts, encouraging me to view that state which I have counted gain, and to which I have most clung, "loss for Christ;" and further, having given up, not to be looking another way, or to another state or circumstance for gain—but still to go on, counting all things, at all times, loss for Christ, and take Him as my only gain. The Lord be pleased further to enlarge, explain, and make practical. "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."
October 19th, Sabbath.—Being somewhat shut up in my feelings this morning, the Word came powerfully and sweetly, in Hab. 3:17, 18. Here I see the privilege of faith, and how it hinges not on outward things, nor is it dependent even upon our own feelings: they are not the source of its triumph; its Author is its object, and its rejoicing is in the Lord. And, when all the desolation of ourselves is shown to ourselves, faith does not become disconsolate, for the Lord is still the same. Blessed truth! blessed triumph! Lord, teach me more!
November 16th.—It is said of Ruth, my namesake, "She sat beside the reapers;" and I think I do so too; for, indeed, I fare daintily, though, certainly, I seem to have my supply more from the hand of Boaz, than through any instrument. But yet His servants are made a blessing to me, and I give Him all the glory, both of what He gives and what He sends. Our meeting on Friday evening was most blessed indeed. We all seemed to feel the anointing, which is truth, and teaches all things. My own soul was melted with the wonders of union to Jesus, and free and sweet was my communion with Him. I see more and more how faith looks only forward and upward!
December 1st.—I rose this morning very depressed and faint-hearted—but the Lord has strengthened me by Gen. 46:2-4.
December 18th.—"I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto You, O Lord, will I sing." On Tuesday last, the 16th, we came suddenly into great affliction; my most dear mother being thrown down in the street by a horse and cart. I was not with her—but was told of it. It was a miracle her life was preserved. To the Lord be all glory and praise; and trust Him, O my soul!
December 25th, Christmas Day.—My dear mother is better—but still confined to her bed. I know not what is the Lord's purpose—but I think He has brought me to lose my will in His. Yes, dear as my mother is, I do humbly trust my chief desire is the Lord's will, and the Lord's glory. To His praise I must acknowledge that the support and comfort He has given me have been wonderful! When ready to sink from fatigue and anxiety, He has upheld and revived me. When of myself I could not know what to do, He has counseled me. When my heart has been ready to break at the thought of a separation, He has kindly turned my eye to the things unseen and eternal, and restored peace, and kept my mind stayed upon Himself. What cause I have for thanksgiving, and what reason to trust Him still! I am fully engaged in attending upon my dear mother—but yet I had this morning some sweetness and power in connection with the wonder of wonders, "The Word made flesh." I cannot now meditate as closely as formerly—but, when it is good for me, that enjoyment will be restored. For the blessings of this affliction, so far, "Bless the Lord, O my soul;" and that, "unto us a child was born." "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" Welcome to our flesh, O Prince of life! All hail, O glorious "Second Adam," the Lord from heaven! "Hosannah to the Son of David!"
"Of all the dear objects beloved,
There's none like the Savior to me."
For SUCH a Savior, and such a Savior mine, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!"
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